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Business Development Return On Investment During New Normal – Forbes

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In the marketing world, many businesses focus on ROI (return on investment). However, when the business does not obtain the immediate monetary results it desires, the decision makers begin to pull away from social media marketing. This is especially true with ROI during a time of crisis, such as the pandemic.

But, there is another side of the coin called return on influences, says social media marketing expert Christopher Tompkins.

“Many businesses have begun investing more time and money into individuals or organizations who can represent their brand and bring credibility and value,” says Tompkins, founder, head strategist, and CEO of The Go! Agency. His latest book is The Go Method: 22 Simple Steps to Creating a Social Media Strategy That Works!

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If you’re spending money trying to promote a product or service, Tomkins says it is essential to be fully aware of your return on investment and return on influence. There are a few things to consider first:

Know how to budget correctly. “So many people think that spending thousands of dollars on advertising will result in a huge win for their company,” says Tomkins. “Yes, more money can result in a greater ROI, but, what if you don’t have thousands to spend in order to acquire new customers? You need to be smart and strategic with what you do have. You’ll want to know as much about your target audience as possible. Don’t waste your money showing your ad to everyone in the world, when you could be showing your ad to just your target audience.”

Know your KPIs and marketing goals. “Speaking of being strategic, you must know your KPIs (key performance indicators),” says Tomkins. “These are specific S.M.A.R.T. goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound) that you can keep track of as your campaign progresses. Without these, you’re making business decisions that are based on feelings instead of figures. If you aren’t careful, you could be spending money on marketing efforts that end up in little to no results.” 

Know how to track your ROI using analytics. “If you don’t already have traffic tracker set up on your website, what are you waiting for?” asks Tomkins. “This is one of the easiest ways to see your website traffic, where they came from, and what pages on your website had a greater increase in visitors than others. Most social media sites offer their own specialized pixel so you can maximize your advertising spend with them, enabling you to only pay for when someone clicks through to your site.”

Know your measurements…and what they mean. “When you are measuring your level of influence, there is not a fancy equation that will help you deliver the ideal metric,” says Tomkins. “Each business has its own needs and its own unique focus. Is it important for you to have a high number of people connected to your profiles? Then the size of your audience will be something that you will want to measure and keep track of. Are you looking to get your audience engaged with your content actively? Then you want to track likes, comments, reactions, and shares. Want to use social media links as calls to action to visit your website? Then you need to track the amount of traffic that you are generating via each site.”

My advice: social media augments marketing and branding efforts, it is not the whole effort. Each social media channel can serve as a branding and expertise hub where a business can illustrate to its target-rich audience the value that the brand brings to the table and why the decision makers need to be interested. Remember, nothing invested means nothing gained.

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Insurers' hedge fund investments may face chop after dismal pandemic performance – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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By Maiya Keidan and Carolyn Cohn

LONDON (Reuters) – Having complained for years about hedge funds’ high fees and lacklustre performance, insurance firms may be preparing to cut allocations to the sector after its poor performance during recent market upheaval left many of them nursing losses.

That would be a problem for hedge funds, as insurance companies are huge investors, managing around $20 trillion of assets globally.

It would also be a challenge for insurers, which have been hoping hedge funds would deliver market-beating returns to help them meet billions of dollars in pandemic-related payouts.

One of the primary objectives of hedge funds is to preserve clients’ capital during market downturns. But the industry mostly failed to do that in the first six months of 2020, losing an average of 3.5%, according to Hedge Fund Research (HFR).

An index fund tracking the S&P500 would have lost 3% in the same period.

(Graphic: Hedge fund annual returns – https://graphics.reuters.com/HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS/INSURANCE/xlbpgjloovq/chart.png)

For European insurers, the underperformance is a double blow, as they incur extra capital charges to hold investments classed as risky.

“The average hedge fund would not be a good investment,” said Urban Angehrn, chief investment officer at Zurich Insurance , which says a $120 million fall in hedge fund gains versus last year contributed to a drop in first-half profits.

Angehrn said there were exceptions but “in aggregate, unfortunately, (hedge funds) don’t do a very good job in creating extra performance.”

While Zurich earned a better-than-average 2.9% from its hedge funds between January and June, that was down from 9% in the same period a year earlier. It has around 1% of its $207 billion asset portfolio in hedge funds and Chief Financial Officer George Quinn told Reuters last month it did not plan a “significant shift” in allocations.

Overall, though, European insurers’ median hedge fund holdings have been falling, hitting 1.5% in September from 2% four years before, data from Preqin shows.

Less than a fifth of global insurers plan to add to hedge fund allocations in the event of persistent volatility over the next three to six months, a State Street survey showed in June, while Goldman Sachs Asset Management’s July survey found that even before the pandemic, insurance firms were cutting hedge fund investments.

“I don’t anticipate COVID leading to increased allocations to hedge funds,” said Gareth Haslip, global head of insurance strategy and analytics at JPMorgan Asset Management.

(Graphic: Insurers’ allocations to hedge funds [in %] – https://graphics.reuters.com/HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS/INSURERS/xegpbjogkpq/chart.png)

DAMAGE

Most major insurers do not provide detail of their hedge fund exposure in earnings reports, but Dutch group Aegon told Reuters it had cut allocations to riskier assets by more than 20% as underperformance of hedge funds inflicted losses of $50 million in the first half of 2020.

“Given the current environment, we decided to somewhat de-risk our investment portfolio and have lowered our exposure to hedge funds and private equity to $1.482 million per June 30, from $1.830 million per December 31, 2019,” a spokesman said.

U.S. insurer AIG said earnings in its general insurance business suffered in the first quarter from a $588 million drop in net investment income, mainly due to hedge funds. AIG declined to comment on its allocations.

Bucking the trend, reinsurer Swiss Re’s hedge fund investments edged up to $355 million at June 30 from $352 million at the end of 2019. A spokesman declined to comment on future investment plans.

European insurers’ hedge fund allocations have room to fall as they are above global averages. It’s also costlier to hold hedge funds after Solvency II regulations introduced in 2016 required insurers to set aside more capital against riskier investments.

Those regulations have partly driven recent falls in hedge fund allocations, according to Andries Hoekema, global insurance sector head at HSBC Global Asset Management, but he noted holdings were down also in Asia, which hadn’t tightened rules.

“In Asia, we have some evidence of insurers replacing hedge fund exposure with private equity,” Hoekema said.

This was “driven partly by the more attractive returns of private equity and partly by the disappointing diversification properties of some hedge fund strategies in recent years,” he added.

($1 = 0.8545 euros)

(Reporting by Maiya Keidan and Carolyn Cohn in London, additional reporting by Toby Sterling in Amsterdam; editing by Sujata Rao and Mark Potter)

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Alberta government announces panel aimed at spurring mineral investment – Edmonton Journal

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“We have companies that are ready to invest now, and they need a process, so our timeline is tight. We want to have legislation and any regulatory changes, any pieces that need to be done, ready to go in the spring,” said Savage.

The panel is made up of former premier of the Northwest Territories Bob McLeod, executive director of the Nunavut Water Board Stephanie Autut, president and CEO of Lucara Diamond Corporation Eira Thomas, president and CEO of IAMGOLD Gordon Stothart, and Allison Rippin Armstrong, who has worked with government, industry and Indigenous organizations.

Part of the government’s strategy will include helping to improve data on mineral deposits in Alberta.

The UCP government has been touting its latest diversification efforts, including in the technology and innovation sector, but Alberta’s Opposition NDP has criticized those sector and business-specific investments as being a fraction of the NDP’s diversification plans.

Savage said the government is focused on investors and people looking to set up business in Alberta. “Those are the people that we’re talking to,” said Savage.

Under the Progressive Conservative government, Alberta Energy commissioned a Mines and Minerals Strategy in 2002, but “then it just stood still,” said Savage, adding the UCP wants to allow affected communities to contribute so projects could move forward while protecting the environment.

Savage is expected to announce the Mine and Minerals strategy panel Wednesday morning with the CEO of Calgary-based business E3 Metals Corp, Chris Doornbos.

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China will boost investment in strategic industries: state planner – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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BEIJING (Reuters) – China said on Wednesday it will boost investment in strategic industries including core tech sectors such as 5G, artificial intelligence and chips.

China will accelerate development of new materials to ensure stable supply chains for aircraft, microelectronic manufacturing and deep-sea mining sectors, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said.

China will also speed development of vaccine innovation, diagnostic, testing reagents and antibody drugs, the NDRC said.

(Reporting By Ryan Woo and Lusha Zhang; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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